The Rutgers University football program is looking to get back to its winning ways Saturday as it hosts West Virginia University, a nationally-ranked Big East Conference opponent, at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, N.J. The Scarlet Knights (5-2, 2-1 Big East) are looking for a victory that will help them become bowl eligible and snap a 16-game losing streak the the Mountaineers (5-2, 1-1), who are currently ranked No. 24 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll, and No. 25 in the AP Poll and Bowl Championship Series rankings.
Last Friday, Syracuse University (5-2, 1-1), which upset WVU, 49-23, proved that beating the best team in the conference is possible. The Orange (5-2, 1-1) held the high-octane Mountaineers offense to their second-lowest point total of the season while piling up a season-best 49 points.
"They effectively put pressure on [quarterback Geno] Smith," said Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano on Monday. "They hit him a lot. They still made plays. I think the biggest thing they did is they scored 49 points or whatever the score was. I mean, their offense did very well."
It's hard to expect that the Scarlet Knights offense, which is ranked fifth in the eight-team league in scoring (28.0 points per game), sixth in total yards (327.9) and is led by a true freshman, Gary Nova, at quarterback, will score 40-plus point on the Mountaineers. However, what the Scarlet Knights could do is slow down WVU's offense.
Currently, the Rutgers defense is ranked first in the Big East in total yards (301.3 per game) and points allowed (16.0). The Scarlet Knights also have forced the most turnovers in the nation (24) and allowing a league-low 14.6 first downs per game.
"This is by far the best skill we've faced. Not even close," said Schiano. "They have four wide receivers that are as good as we've played. Geno, the quarterback, is playing at a very, very high level. Offensive line is experienced. This will be a big test."
As of Wednesday, West Virginia is a seven-point favorite over Rutgers.
SB Nation New York will have more on the West Virginia-Rutgers contest as the week moves along. Check back for a complete scouting report on the Mountaineers, injury, in-game and postgame updates. Follow along on Twitter at SBNationNY or Jared_E_Smith.